Donnie Arrington said sometimes he feels more like an employee than a neighbor of the Landover Hills Walmart.
“One of the biggest concerns right now is the shopping carts left in the community,” said Arrington, 54. “At this point, I just put them in the back of my truck and bring them back to the parking lot.”
Other Radiant Valley neighborhood residents said the Walmart, located on Annapolis Road, has been inattentive to their concerns about retrieving carts taken off of the property, as well as other general trash that blows from overflowing trash cans in the store parking lot into the neighborhood.
And with confirmation that Walmart plans to expand the location into a “super Walmart” — complete with full grocery service — residents say they fear the problems will only get worse.
Walmart representatives sent residents a letter March 13 declaring their intent to file an application to expand the store from 144,000 square feet to nearly 180,000 square feet.
Radiant Valley resident said the shopping carts become a safety hazard when left in the community.
“People just leave them in the street,” Small said. “And children get a hold of them and play with them. They can get hurt.”
Small said that although she understands Walmart is not directly responsible for its customers taking carts, it should still work to keep its property and the community it backs up against clean.
“They have an obligation to keep it decent and clean,” Small said. “We tried to get them to put some sort of device on the carts so they won’t go out of the parking lot, but they haven’t done that.”
Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said the retailer does some cart pickup, including shopping carts that are off-site, but within view of the store and plans to improve cart round-up procedures. She said the company is also exploring installing a wheel lock system at the property.
“We already have designated days where we go out and pick up carts, but we’re also looking into getting a third party company to help us with those efforts,” Whaling said. “We do have staff cart pushers who help with monitoring the area and picking up shopping carts. If there is one off the property that they see, they’ll walk over and push it back.”
Whaling said the retailer does yet have a timeline for hiring the cart clean-up company, and she declined to comment about litter issues.
Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo confirmed the planned expansion in an email and said it would be a boon to residents.
“Grocery is something that our local customers have been asking for because they know it’s an area where we can really help them save,” Restivo wrote. “This expansion will provide residents with a new option for fresh, affordable food close to where they live or work.”
Small said she is concerned that the problem will continue to go unaddressed after the proposed expansion.
“My thing is, if they can’t control what they have, how are they going to manage dealing with more?” Small said. “It will be worse.”